Ten Years and Text Prayers

Ten years ago I prayed very short prayers, mostly in the form of an S.O.S. “Jesus, help me,” or “Your patience, Lord.” There simply wasn’t time for long, theologically impressive prayers.

One day I went to my bedroom, left the door open so nobody would think I was in there, lay behind the bed out of sight, and this is what I prayed: “Please, don’t let me hurt anybody, Jesus.”

I finally set up our desktop computer this week. Yes, a whole year after we packed it for our move. We can access our photo library now, an endless source of amusement.

This was our family on my husband’s thirtieth birthday. He was in nursing school, working part time to support us. Addy was one week old. Alex was eight. Rita was two, going on twelve. It was a sweaty eyeballs time, as Rachel Jankovic would say. It’s a good thing that breathing can be done without conscious effort, else we both would have gently expired for lack of oxygen at some point.

I thought back to this time last week when we went out to eat for Gabe’s fortieth birthday. We used a gift card Alex gave, and everybody had dressed themselves, including footgear. We ate at a steakhouse, and we didn’t have to clean up any spills, or take anybody to the potty, or even cut up their meat.

I thought about it again a few days ago when we ambitiously planned a full day of cooking for the freezer, seeing as the kitchen redo is coming right up and we will be limited in the kitchen for a while. Rita mixed up a triple batch of bread rolls for VBS, her lifelong fascination with patting and shaping yeast doughs having at last come to fruition. Then she mixed up four pounds of meatloaf, again digging in with no qualms because she loves to knead and stir. Addy made monster cookies, also for the upcoming VBS. For some reason those are always huge batches in the Amish cookbooks, but she nailed it perfectly. Olivia assembled beef and bean burritos for an easy future supper, and Gregory peeled 5 pounds of potatoes in less time than it takes to bake a pan full of tater tots. Then he lit the grill and cooked a bunch of pork, both chops and sausage. I floated on the periphery and did quality control. Olivia had been doing laundry all day, and about the time we put away the clean dishes, she was putting away the stacks of folded clothes.

This level of house help wasn’t even imaginable to me ten years ago. I had help: generous, constant help, and I was grateful for it. I just had to be careful not to trip over anybody, and that can be so, so trying. Many of those days felt like it was one step forward, two steps back.

“Don’t let me hurt anybody.” Somewhere in Elizabeth Elliot’s wise writings, I picked up the concept of communicating with short prayers and I continue the practice even now. They are kind of like texting a friend, not nearly as satisfying as a sit-down conversation, but still a way to stay connected.

These days the most frequent snippet is a simple, “Into Your hands.” I don’t even bother to name the concern/fear. I just verbalize the relinquishing and then I (try to) leave it. Sometimes multiple times in a day.

A friend on Instagram (@heartofthebison) has blessed me with her phrase, “I see You, God,” when her eyes light on a beautiful thing in creation. That perfectly tender cucumber I just picked. The folds and folds of a dahlia opening out of a tight bud. The soft edges of the clouds at sunrise. The coincidental arrival of a note in the mail on the very day I need to read it. “I see You, God, and You see me.”

Do you “text” God?

5 thoughts on “Ten Years and Text Prayers

  1. This resonates on a very deep level for me! My oldest is 8 and youngest is almost 1. We have 5 total. I really like how you said you always had a lot of help you just had to be careful not to trip over anybody! That is my life every day. Today I wanted everyone to take a nap because I wanted space . I didn’t want to answer any questions or take care of anyone’s needs for at least a half hour!! I sometimes feel bad that I don’t always sit down and have a formal time to pray and this gives me hope that it will change.

  2. I feel this all the way to my smallest toe. When you look at that pic from the past, don’t you feel amazed that you somehow made, birthed, cared for, and fed all those little humans? You should! 😁
    And yes, text prayers have become part of my breathing, to be honest. It’s all part of acknowledging Him in all our ways, and finding Him to be so very present. 💙

  3. Spot on, once again, Dorcas. Thank you for sharing so transparently. Sometimes I answer my husband’s question with, “Yes, it was a good day. The children are all still alive.”

    And yes, “text prayers” are very real. Staying connected with the Lord during these sweaty eyeball years is vital. In addition to recognizing God in the beauty around us & breathing prayer phrases throughout the day, I’ve found it is just as important to be in His Word every.single.day. It’s been almost a year ago since a friend & I were bemoaning the “no time for the Bible because of all these little people.” We decided then & there that we were going to stop grumping about it and do something. So we decided to get up a little earlier, spend time in the Word, and text each other what we read. It has been so LIFE GIVING to once again have regular time hearing God through His Word.

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